How to Pronounce the Letter X in Brazilian Portuguese

In this post you’ll learn how to pronounce the letter X in Brazilian Portuguese and we’ll also have a look at the meaning of the word x-burger, which is often listed on restaurant menus in Brazil.

The letter X in Brazilian Portuguese words can be pronounced 4 different ways:


1. S and an H together [SH]

like in the English word shop. Let’s see some examples:

abacaxi (pineaple)


caixa (box)


xícara (cup)


puxar (to pull)

👉 Whenever a word starts with an X, like in the word xícara, it will always have this sound, the [sh] sound. 


2. K and an S together [KS]

fixo (fixed)


sexo (sex)


tóxico  (toxic)


anexo (attachment)


3. [Z] sound


exemplo (example)


exercício  (exercise)


exatamente (exactly)


exame (exam)

4. [S] sound

texto (text)


extra (extra)


experiência  (experience)


excelente (excellent)


👉 Whenever you see an X followed by a C, both of these letters will form also this sound, the [S] sound


There are many rules regarding the different sounds of the letter X, and each of these rules have many exceptions to them.

It’s really not worth trying and memorizing all these rules. What I recommend is that when you come across a word with an X in it, try and learn how it’s pronounced. There are many tools you for that, like the Google Translate extension for Chrome, which after you click on a word it gives you the meaning and the pronunciation of the word, and there’s also a free online pronunciation dictionary called Forvo.


Now, let’s talk about x-burger.

If you’ve been to Brazil before you might have come across this option on restaurant menus. Now, for us to understand what an x-burger is, we need to look at how the letter X is actually called in Portuguese. The name of this letter is xis, which sounds a little bit like cheese, so when Brazilians want to order a cheeseburger they would normally pronounce it as [sheezburger], so the word ‘cheese’ has been replaced by the letter X.

The letter X in Brazilian Portuguese


If you think Brazilian Portuguese pronunciation is difficult, it’s actually not as hard as you think.

I have a full training called The Ultimate Pronunciation Guide inside the FWBP Academy. I teach you how to master the building blocks of Brazilian Portuguese pronunciation and it also includes fun tongue twisters and specially selected songs that you can use to practice all those tricky sounds.

So, if Brazilian pronunciation is something you struggle with you need to get on my Ultimate Pronunciation Guide inside the FWBP Academy, just click here or on the picture below:

letter X in Brazilian Portuguese

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